Caton, an all-new British luxury brand that will set new standards in coachbuilding, creating ultra-exclusive products for the automotive sector and beyond, has been launched today.
Distilling unrivalled design, engineering and craftsmanship skills, Caton will stand apart, offering a completely new proposition in the luxury marketplace. Combining state-of-the-art, OEM-grade design and engineering skills with traditional handcrafting expertise, Caton will sympathetically enhance icons, evolving them for the modern age.
Tim Strafford, CEO of Caton’s strategic vehicle building partner, Envisage Group, said: “Caton was the vision of our [Envisage Group’s] investors, to create a unique brand that utilises precision engineering, bespoke craftsmanship, and British skills, to create unrivalled products in the automotive sphere and beyond.
“Caton will stand on its own, as a specialist brand, inspired by precision engineering. It will offer ultra-exclusive, highly-aspirational British-designed products within the automotive sector and beyond. This exciting new brand will demonstrate what is possible when design and technical development are pushed to the highest possible levels with exceptional luxury creations.”
The reincarnation of icons
Each enhancement Caton makes to an iconic product will be supremely subtle and entirely empathetic to the original. Rather than pushing the envelope as far as possible, Caton will take a deliberately restrained approach, guided by asking the question: ‘what would the original creators have done had they had the latest technology and manufacturing methods at their disposal?’
Strafford continued: “Caton’s ethos goes beyond merely that of reimagining. It is a case of purification and modernisation. It is more respectful of – and true to – the original product, be it a vehicle, an item of furniture or otherwise, than the term ‘reimagine’ perhaps implies. Its ethos is one of reincarnation. It will take loved and cherished cars and objects from the past and improve upon them using new materials and manufacturing processes.”
Harmony of state-of-the art technology and traditional skills
For Caton’s first project, a take on an iconic two-seater Fifties British sports car, its team has created a full digital model of the car’s body and uses ultra-accurate Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines to create tooling that will enable it to operate to tolerances of .2mm. However, Caton’s highly skilled craftspeople also use an English Wheel to hand form panels, which will be made from aluminium.
“It is this fusion of exceptional precision with the very best in hand-building expertise that makes Caton unique. We use the best possible harmony of tools and techniques; past, present, and future,” continues Strafford.
The philosophy of selecting the best artisans highly experienced in traditional and contemporary methods extends beyond the walls of Caton.
“The modern business world works best when people are open-minded enough to establish the right strategic partnerships. And so, right from the outset of Caton, we asked ourselves: ‘Where are we world-class? And where could we benefit from having a partner bring additional skills?’ We don’t believe that trying to do every single element yourself always guarantees the best results,” explained Strafford.
Unparalleled resources and expertise
Caton draws on the unrivalled skillset that exists within its strategic partner Envisage Group (Envisage). Often described as ‘the best-kept secret’ in the British automotive industry, Envisage supports multiple global OEMs and emerging OEMs, from design through engineering and into manufacturing.
“At Envisage, we are very much specialists in supporting design realisation, whether it’s exterior or interior. We have executed projects before where we have provided mechanicals, but we don’t necessarily position ourselves in that space,” said Envisage CEO Tim Strafford. “While Envisage specialises in enabling customers to realise their own prescribed set of design requirements, Caton will create its own products to its own brief.”
Understandably, little of Envisage’s highly confidential work with OEMs ever reaches the public eye. However, the high calibre of the commissions that the company can acknowledge is a clear indicator of the impeccable standards that Caton will set.
With a proud and lengthy track record of working with OEMs and other automotive clients to create exceptional continuation cars and limited production runs of luxury vehicles, Envisage has also been regularly entrusted by private individuals with extensive restorations of exceedingly rare and valuable classics and automotive icons.
While Envisage operates on a B2B premise, Caton is B2C, functioning as an independent business entity but able to utilise the complete resources of Envisage. Facilities include state-of-the-art studios providing full dimensional measuring, milling and 3D printing, a Colour Material and Finish (CMF) research division, trim department and paint laboratory.
These assets will bolster Caton’s ability to develop an array of contemporary and classic premium products infused with cutting-edge technology and consummate style and sophistication.
The technological backing of Envisage is not the only factor that will differentiate Caton from existing and emerging companies specialising in paying homage to iconic models from the past. One of the many strengths of the new brand is the detailed, forensic approach of its exceptional design and engineering resources that will enable it to take to each project.
The first iconic product to come from Caton
Caton’s debut project, its take on an iconic two-seater Fifties British sports car, will be available to view publicly at Salon Privé London 21-23 April 2022 and a range of UK-centric events. A strategic collaboration, Caton has partnered with a company that has specialised in restoration and engineering enhancement for more than 40 years and can trace its roots back to the company that produced the car in period.
Based on a classic Fifties British sports car, Caton’s design and engineering teams have subtly evolved it to create a more user-friendly experience for the modern age. At every stage, Caton has adhered rigidly to the original car’s DNA and the vision of those who built it in period. Exterior and interior design enhancements are combined with the intelligent integration of modern technology and a significant performance upgrade, realised by peerless engineering and production values to create a visceral driving experience unlike any other.
“We can’t wait to take the wraps off Caton’s first product,” concludes Tim Strafford. “It is an exciting precision reincarnation of an icon, one that will set new standards in coachbuilding. But whatever project Caton undertakes, be it the evolution of a classic or a contemporary product, we will leverage the best possible technology, skill sets, resources and partners to set new standards across the industry.”